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Disambiguation: Dutch 'Maar' - Multiple Meanings and Related Words

Disambiguation: Many common Dutch words have more than one meaning. Disambiguation Home - 'Al' - 'Als' - 'Daar' - 'Dan' - 'Dat' - 'Door' - 'Eens' - 'Er' - 'Erg' - 'Even' - 'Haast' - 'Het' - 'Laat' - 'Maar' - 'Net' - 'Nog' - 'Of' - 'Om' - 'Over' - 'Toen' - 'Van' - 'Voor' - 'Vroeg' - 'Waar' - 'Wat' - 'Zo' - more

Maar

click to hear
  1. 'but' - "strange but true"
  2. 'just, only' - "there's just one solution" - "He's only a baby"
  3. pragmatic marker - various translations

1. 'Maar' = 'but'

'Maar' is often translated as 'but' - indicating a contrast or a possible contradiction with a word that came before or with the first part of the sentence, or (in a sentence starting with 'Maar'/'But') with a previous statement
Raar maar waar click to hear 2 3 Strange but true
Langzaam maar zeker click to hear 2 3 Slow but steady
Rijk maar geen geld click to hear 2 3 Rich, but no money / Rich without money
Eenzaam maar niet alleen click to hear 2 Lonely but not alone
Geen woorden maar daden! click to hear 2 Not words but actions! No words but action!
Hij was eerlijk, maar beleefd click to hear He was honest, but polite
Ouder, maar niet wijzer click to hear Older, but not wiser
Ik had schrijver willen worden, maar ik ben spreker geworden click to hear I wanted to be a writer, but I've become a speaker
We zouden gaan fietsen, maar 't begon te regenen click to hear We were going to ride our bikes, but it started to rain
Ik krijg wel eens honger op straat, maar ik eet altijd thuis click to hear 2 I get hungry in the street sometimes, but I always eat at home
De geest is gewillig, maar 't vlees is zwak click to hear 2 3 The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41)
Ik werd niet door een wesp gestoken, maar door een bij click to hear I was not stung by a wasp, but by a bee
Ik ben wel oud, maar toch niet zò oud click to hear 2 I may be old, but I'm not that old
De wind is gaan liggen, maar we zitten nog steeds in het water click to hear The wind has died down, but we're still [in the water] flooded
Nederlands is een mooie taal ... click to hear Dutch is a beautiful language ...
... maar misschien niet om te zingen click to hear ( click to hear ) ... but maybe not for singing
Geld maakt niet gelukkig ... click to hear 2 Money doesn't make you happy, money does not create happiness ...
... maar 't is wel (ge)makkelijk click to hear 2 3 ... but it is convenient, it makes life easier
't Is niet vies ... click to hear 2 3 It doesn't taste bad ...
- maar 't had lekkerder kunnen zijn click to hear 2 - but it could have been better
- maar 't was ook niet geweldig click to hear 2 3 - but it wasn't great either
- maar 't is ook niet bijzonder click to hear 2 - but it's not special either
(talking about experiments in cooking)
't Is niet fout ... click to hear 2 3 It's not wrong ...
- maar 't is niet mooi click to hear 2 3 - but it's not pretty
- maar je kunt het eenvoudiger zeggen click to hear 2 3 - but there's a simpler way to say it
Ik heb een paar jaar pianoles gehad ... click to hear I've had a few years of piano lessons ...
... maar ik had beter gitaar kunnen leren spelen click to hear ... but it would have been better if I'd learned to play the guitar
We zijn er bijna ... click to hear 2 We're almost there ...
... maar nog niet helemaal click to hear 2 ... but not [yet entirely] quite
M'n vrouw zegt dat de bal niet in het doel
wordt geschopt maar geschoten click to hear
My wife says that the ball is not
kicked but shot into the goal (soccer; English usage may be different)
Velen worden geroepen, maar weinigen worden uitgekozen click to hear Many are called, but (only a) few are chosen
Ja, maar ... click to hear Yes, but ...(voicing objections)
Maar jazeker! click to hear 2 But certainly!
Maar gaat U verder click to hear But please continue (with what you were saying)
Maar niet heus click to hear But not really - "Not!"
Maar wij zitten met de gebakken peren click to hear 2 3 (expression) But we are left with [the baked pears] an unwanted responsibility
Maar vandaag voel ik me gelukkig weer een stuk beter click to hear But today luckily I feel a whole lot better
Er zijn speciale molentjes voor maar ik heb er geen click to hear 2 There are specialized 'little mills' for it but I don't have one (talking about kitchen gadgets like a Romano beans slicer)

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

'Maren' is a verb almost exclusively found in the phrase:
"Niks te maren!" click to hear 2 ['Don't say but'] - 'No ifs or buts'

'Doch' is a very old-fashioned word for 'but' giving a contrast. It's in a famous phrase in the Tom Poes click to hear 2 books by Dutch master cartoonist Marten Toonder click to hear 2

Een eenvoudige doch voedzame maaltijd click to hear 2 3 4 A simple but nutritious meal

2. 'Maar' = 'just, only' (in a variety of meanings)

'Maar' meaning 'just, only' emphasizes what comes after - leaving 'just, only' out will give a (somewhat awkward) sentence of about the same meaning:
There is only one solution / "There is one solution"
He's just a baby / "He's a baby"
For the Dutch words for other meanings of 'just' see Disambiguation: 'Net' "Dat is maar bijzaak" click to hear 2 3 4
'That is only a side issue, that's not the important thing
'Maar' = only, just
't Lijkt maar zo click to hear It only looks that way
Misschien lijkt 't maar zo click to hear 2 3 4 Maybe it only looks that way
We wonen nog maar kort hier click to hear 2 We've only lived here for a short while
Dat ging maar net goed click to hear 2 3 That only just went well (it could easily have gone wrong)
Door de tegenwind kwamen we maar met moeite vooruit click to hear 2 Because we had the wind against us, we only progressed [with difficulty] slowly
Door de tegenwind kwamen we met moeite vooruit click to hear 2 Because we had the wind against us, we progressed [with difficulty] slowly
Ik wil alleen maar bij deze lieve mevrouw blijven click to hear 2 [I only want ...] - All I want is to stay with this kind lady (from 'Miracle on 34th Street')
'Maar' = only, no more than
't Duurde maar tien minuten click to hear It lasted only ten minutes
't Kostte maar vijf minuten click to hear 2 It [did cost] took only 5 minutes
Er is maar één oplossing click to hear 2 There's only one solution
't Gebeurt maar eens in je leven click to hear 2 It happens only once in your life
't Is maar een verhaaltje click to hear It's just a story
't Is maar een schrammetje click to hear 2 It's only a scratch
Hij is nog maar een baby click to hear 2 He's [still] just a baby
één keer maar click to hear 2 3 just one time, one time only
'Maar' = just (continuation)
't Water blijft stijgen click to hear The water keeps rising
't Water blijft maar stijgen click to hear The water just keeps rising
't Blijft maar regenen click to hear 2 It just keeps raining, the rain just doesn't let up
't Houdt maar niet op click to hear 2 It just doesn't stop, it just never stops
Ik heb 't maar zo gelaten click to hear 2 I just left it like that - I didn't take (further) action
'Maar' = just (warning or encouragement)
Laat je handjes maar eens wapperen click to hear 2 ['Just make your (little) hands wave frantically, snap']- Get active! Get cracking!
Als je dat maar laat! click to hear 2 3 ['If only you don't do that'] - Leave it out, don't do that
Als je dat maar weet click to hear 2 3 [If only you know that] - Be sure to keep that in mind
Als je haar maar goed zit! click to hear 2 3 [If only your hair 'sits well'] - The most important thing is that your hair looks OK
Zeg 't niet tegen Piet click to hear 2 Don't [mention it to] tell Piet
Zeg 't maar niet tegen Piet click to hear 2 [Just] Please don't tell Piet, It would be better not to tell Piet
Zeg maar niks tegen Piet click to hear 2 3 4 [Just] Please [say nothing] don't say anything about it to Piet
'Maar' = just
Doe maar normaal, dan doe je al gek genoeg click to hear 2 Just do like you always do, that's enough craziness already
't Is maar wat je gewend bent click to hear 2 3 It's just what you're used to
't Wil maar niet lukken click to hear 2 3 [It's indeed not succeeding] - It just isn't working out
Hij doet maar wat click to hear 2 3 ["He just does something random"] - (He's not serious, not making an effort)
Hij zegt maar wat click to hear 2 3 4 (He just says something at random] - He's not serious, what he says is of no value

Combining with a verb, 'maar' can express a wish: 'if only ...,' 'I wish ...'

Was ik maar ... click to hear 2 3 I wish I was ..., I wish I had ...
(Dutch can use either
'zijn' (to be) or hebben ('to have') for the perfect tense)
Was ik er maar nooit aan begonnen click to hear 2 3 4 I wish I had never started (on) it, gotten into it
Was ik maar bij moeder thuis gebleven click to hear 2 3 4 I wish I had stayed with my mom (at my parents' house)
Was ik maar in Den Haag! click to hear 2 I wish I was in The Hague. Things would be better if I was in The Hague.
Had ik maar ... click to hear 2 I wish I had ..., If only I had ...
Had ik maar een boel geld click to hear I wish I had a lot of money
Lag ik maar aan het strand click to hear 2 I wish I was lying (lazing?) on the beach
Kon ik nog maar even blijven liggen! click to hear 2 3 ['If only I could remain lying down a moment longer '] - I wish I could stay in bed a little longer
Compare:
Als 't niet te laat is click to hear 2 If it's not too late
Als 't nog niet te laat is click to hear 2 3 If it's not too late yet
Als 't nog maar niet te laat is click to hear If only it's not too late (I hope it's not too late)

Synomyms, Alternates and Related Words

'Zomaar' click to hear 2 3 is usually translated as 'just like that' - something suddenly happening for no clear cause or reason
Hij begon zomaar te huilen click to hear 2 He just started to cry, I don't know why
't Hield zomaar op click to hear 2 It suddenly stopped, I don't know why

3. 'Maar' - 'Pragmatic Marker'

Hij doet ook maar click to hear 2 3 He just does as he pleases
Die mensen doen ook maar click to hear 2 Those people just do as they please

'Maar' ~just - a polite or friendly encouragement, like 'feel free' or 'you may'

Laat maar click to hear Let it be, never mind, don't bother (no need for action)
Laat maar zitten click to hear 2 3 ['No need to 'move,' just leave it be'] - Keep the change (offering the change as tip)
Zeg 't maar click to hear 2 3 You can say it, Feel free to speak up
Zeg maar wat je zou willen hebben van Sinterklaas click to hear Just say what you'd like to have from Santa
(from 'Miracle on 34th Street')
Doe 't maar click to hear 2 Go ahead, do it
Geef maar hier click to hear 2 You may hand it to me (I'll take care of it)
Let maar niet op mij click to hear 2 Now don't pay attention to me
Rustig maar click to hear 2 There, there (comforting an upset person)
Gelukkig maar! click to hear 2 3 Lucky indeed! We're lucky
Je bent er maar druk mee click to hear 2 3 [You're quite busy with it.] It's taking a lot of your time.
't Zal je kind maar wezen click to hear Just imagine that it would be your child
Ho maar! click to hear 2 Stop it! That's enough.
Nederlands ho maar! click to hear Dutch [just stop] - not so much! (said when an outrageous statement is made in bad Dutch)
Zo zie je maar click to hear 2 So, this way you see ..., this shows ...
Zo zie je maar wie echt je vrienden zijn click to hear This shows who your real friends are

Similar but Unrelated Words

(de) mare click to hear 2 is an old-fashioned word meaning 'story, legend' or '(favorable) rumor.'
(de) maretak click to hear 2 'mistletoe'

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